Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 13/8
Liverpool’s title hopes are on the line following a poor patch of results which affected the team spirit, but the forthcoming clash against title chargers Chelsea can potentially be a season-changer. And for both sides as well.
Three home defeats and two Cup eliminations in the matter of eight days have left Liverpool in a much-changed mood compared to early-season’s high hopes. The frustrating run started with a 3-2 Premier League defeat and followed by the 1-0 EFL Cup semi-final loss to Southampton. The 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Wolves has arguably been the biggest blow as Jurgen Klopp’s team selection raised a couple of questions of Liverpool’s ambitions. In the German’s defence, former Borussia Dortmund manager had his options limited with a couple of players and Sadio Mane, in the first place, unavailable for selection. The Senegalese will return in time to face Chelsea and the Reds are likely to benefit a great deal from the return of the dynamic winger. Liverpool are trailing leaders Chelsea by ten points and the following game is a potential season-changer, as three points would allow Liverpool to keep their top 4 and even title challenge still alive.
Sadio Mane is coming back from the Africa Cup of nations and will be in contention together with Joel Matip and Philippe Coutinho as the other two prominent first-team choices.
Ings and Marko Grujic are the only two players out with injuries, but the two of them are yet to be given a run in the season.
The Blues are back in business following their 2-0 defeat at Tottenham. Consecutive Premier League triumphs over Leicester and Hull were sandwiched in between FA Cup challenges against Peterborough and Brentford, which all saw Chelsea concede just one and score 13 goals in total. Diego Costa is back in the team following a reported dispute with Antonio Conte and the atmosphere is back to where it was in 2016, which gives Chelsea fans plenty of reason to feel optimistic. Antonio Conte experimented with his team selection during the FA Cup exploits, which allowed the Italian to keep his first-team players fresh amid the tight schedule. Chelsea travel to Anfield feeling determined to avenge the September 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, when Liverpool triumphed thanks to first-half goals from Lovren and Henderson. Ten-point advantage gives Blues plenty of self-confidence heading into the Tuesday’s match, and Chelsea are well aware that the game is Liverpool’s to lose which can be their main advantage in the game.
Begovic will surrender his place to first-choice goalkeeper Courtois, whereas Antonio Conte is likely to make even more changes to his line-up.
No injury problems give Antonio Conte plenty of options, but the Italian is unlikely to deviate from his ordinary selection which brought such great results thus far.
Key Factors to Consider
- Liverpool lost three home games on the trot
- The Reds got eliminated from two Cup contests in four days
- Chelsea are on a four-match winning streak
- Blues conceded 1 and score 13 goals in their last four matches
- Conte’s men won 14 of last 15 matches in all competitions
A quick look at the numbers offers clear indication that Chelsea should emerge as winners. Liverpool, on the other hand, are the unpredictable side which plays best against big rivals which is why we think there is a certain value in betting on them to stun the Premier League leaders.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 13/8
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